Human Again

By UrbanAnthropod, January 24, 2012 8:52 pm
Ingrid Michaelson at Best Buy

I changed jobs in August. This has really changed my extracurricular activities. I’ve cut out a lot of live music from my life. There was a time when I would see nearly a show a week. But things slowed down and now with the new schedule, shows are almost absent from my life.

Human Again

It had been a long time since I’d had the opportunity to see Ingrid Michaelson in person. She always manages to put on a great show. She performs without being a production. Her humor is matched by the sense of humility you get when you experience the honesty of her songs in person. So I was upset when I learned I had missed out on purchasing tickets to her album release show for her newest venture, Human again. Fortunately, the show sold out so quickly that she hinted at doing an in-store performance at a Best Buy. When I learned the time and location, I… Read the rest

Rosie in the snow

By UrbanAnthropod, January 22, 2012 6:00 pm
Rosie on a fence post

First Snow

Since I visited Central Park and the Ramble yesterday after the snowfall, I decided to head down to Washington Square Park today. Upon arrival, I spied Rosie on a building to the east. She took off shortly after towards the east so I walked over towards the fountain to survey the scene better in case she returned.Looking south, there were no signs of Bobby or the peregrine that had been harassing the pair. When Rosie returned, she landed on the same building. A few of us watched and were distracted by the cries of a nearby sapsucker. When we turned to look at the vocal woodpecker, Rosie had taken off. Fortunately, it was around feeding time. Bobby arrived but staid on the buildings as Rosie swept through to scatter the pigeons. She perched on the northwest side of the park, which didn’t sit too well with a pair of blue jays.

Rosie came down towards… Read the rest

Meeting Rosie

By UrbanAnthropod, January 19, 2012 6:37 pm
Rosie and the arch

I must confess, I never met Violet. The last time I was actively watching at Washington Square Park was before Pip hatched. I didn’t see much of a point. There were so many other hawk nests in Manhattan. When we lost Dad at Riverside Park, I saw even less a point. Part of me held a grudge because of all the press that Bobby and Violet got. I could turn on a web browser at any time and see what Violet and Pip were up to. Meanwhile, Riverside Mom was raising 2 hatchlings on her own and no one knew about the issues regarding the rat poison. Another reason why I held a grudge was the influx of casuals we got at the other nest sites. It’s one thing to inspire people to enjoy nature, but the types that came by were very combative about their knowledge of hawks and the goings on at the NYU nest. It… Read the rest

Lost in space

By UrbanAnthropod, December 23, 2011 6:22 pm
Female Rufous hummingbird in action

For a few weeks, there had been some buzz about a hummingbird outside the American Museum of Natural History – Rose Center for Earth and Space. This was very surprising and I had heard about her during a cold snap. I was off watching a Cooper’s Hawk in the ramble when someone walked by and shared the information with someone else within my earshot. Naturally, all the regular hummingbirds are out of the city and probably spending winter in Florida. Cityroom Blog at NY times had indicated that this hummingbird was even more extraordinary than expected. The standard hummingbird for New York is the Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). Even then, these birds are found only in large gardens and the outer boroughs. To confound our confusion, the article and physical appearance of this bird indicates that it is a female Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). This would not be so unusual if it wasn’t winter. But it is… Read the rest

You know it’s winter

By UrbanAnthropod, December 19, 2011 6:29 pm

The leaves have fallen and the air is crisp. The xanthophyll tinged trees are dull and grey. Most importantly, the wintering raptors are here in full force. My favorite aspect of walking through the Ramble in the park this time of year is seeing the transient hawks. Juvenile red-tails can be found well within Pale Male’s territory and the smaller Cooper’s hawks opportunistically wait by the bird feeders.

You definitely know it’s winter in Manhattan when you spot your first Cooper’s.

Cooper's Hawk

Where do they go during a hurricane?

By UrbanAnthropod, August 29, 2011 9:14 am
Pale Male calls to the babies

Sibling Rivalry

The lingering humidity made things pretty uncomfortable despite having temperatures in the mid-70’s. I almost overheated from a run because the perspiration clung to me. I had to stop because I started seeing spots and felt my head getting really warm. There was something definitely amiss since the cool river breeze failed to keep me comfortable. This was a sign for things to come. Last Friday was a humid and sunny day. We knew that Hurricane Irene would be hitting land soon, but there was no clear sign of it on Cedar Hill. Walking past the cypress tree that Pale Male’s fledglings commonly perched atop, I heard cries. It was none other than Pale Male, himself. I watched him for a short amount of time and wondered where the other watchers were. It was quite strange that he would be so vocal. I couldn’t see what he had, but he definitely had a kill with him since the… Read the rest

Kingdom of Morocco

By UrbanAnthropod, August 8, 2011 1:38 pm
Those who submit at Hassan II Mosque

Adorama had a sale on photobooks so I rushed to make a book from my recent trip to Morocco. Adorama offers importing from Flickr. This is realy convenient since the pictures don’t store locally per se. And the pictures I have a higher affinity towards are already uploaded online.

I’ve printed an Adorama photobook before as a gift. So I was fully aware of the quality. This time, I really tested out the seamless/gutterless pages. One of my favorite shots is split evenly between 2 pages and it looks fantastic. The shot features a girl walking in front of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. /it’s a one-shot HDR image I overlayed with the original picture. The deatals form the HDR/tone-mapping on that drab day pop out while the telephoto shot is wide enough that the grand backdrop of the mosque places a context on the girl in the center.

Read the rest

Casablanca… not the movie

By UrbanAnthropod, July 14, 2011 2:02 pm
Hassan II Mosque

There’s one thing to be said about Royal Air Maroc and that is that I have not experienced such a flight in 10 years. These days, we expect in flight entertainment, especially for these transatlantic flights. I was worried when we boarded and there were mechanics running through the aisles. I sat next to an empty seat as we were to push off. Well, we were scheduled to push off, but the mechanics were obviously doing something in the galley and also in the rear of the plane. I learned that the repairs in the back were on the seal around the lavatory door. Was this what kept us waiting in a stifling airplane? There was a total lack of ventilation and it was uncomfortable.

To top things off, while I was smiling at the idea of an empty seat to my side, a woman boarded at the last minute… with a baby! Yes, I went through a 7… Read the rest


By UrbanAnthropod, June 26, 2011 5:44 pm
Pride and Appreciation

Yesterday marked something momentous in the state of New York. Governor Cuomo got marriage equality passed. I am not gay but marriage equality is something important to me. In our world where so many families exist where there is no love and dysfunctional circumstances are prevalent, who are we to prohibit others who legitimately love each other from having it recognized. Equality is equality and we need to respect it. The other side will throw their nonsensical homophobic rationale’s against marriage equality, but as already stated… they’re nonsensical. The one that I never understood was the claim that permitting homosexual marriage rights would cause an HIV crisis. Because surely, when you allow for the acceptance of monogamous relationships, this perpetuates promiscuity.

At any rate, I went to the parade this year. It was my first. I always avoided it because I just don’t like heat. But there was comfortable weather and I could not be stopped from taking part in… Read the rest

Without Dad

By UrbanAnthropod, May 7, 2011 6:14 pm
Mom and Eyass

After the passing of the male red-tailed hawk at Riverside Park, there was a lot of concern about the livelihood of the nest and the new eyasses. With the news of the dead father, I thought I would collect some rodent carcasses from our research institute and leave them in the trees where he would cache food. Turns out, others had the same idea in mind. The parks Department and some rehabilitators have set up a program to do just that. I arrived at the nest to see Mom and nestlings in good condition. As I worked my way up to the highway, I instantly came across a dead quail. Upon closer inspection, there were white rats and quail scattered about. Making my way up, I discovered that my view was obfuscated by all the foliage. Eventually finding a decent vantage point, I could see that Mom was standing high over her kids. This is a great time to visit… Read the rest

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